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OGA kicks off 32nd offshore round

Regulator offers 768 blocks or part-blocks across the main producing areas of the UK continental shelf

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has launched the 32nd offshore licensing round with hundreds of blocks on offer across the main producing areas of the UK continental shelf, supported by new data packs.

The UK regulator released on Thursday 768 blocks or part-blocks in the Central North Sea, Northern North Sea, Southern North Sea and the West of Shetlands.

The round is open for 120 days until the application closing date on 12 November 2019, with decisions expected in the second quarter of 2020.

In addition, the OGA is offering companies the opportunity to propose additional blocks in adjacent areas, for possible inclusion where applicants intend to commit to a substantial firm work programme, it said.

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Submissions for these areas should be made in writing by 18 July.

In support of the round, the OGA has also made packs of data available acquired from the mature areas of the UK continental shelf.

The massive data release includes both UK continental shelf-wide and more regionally-focused data packs and reports, including the deliverables from the first year of the government supported UK continental shelf petroleum systems project.

The exploration data packs have been supported through £5 million ($6.2 million) of government funding to help stimulate exploration and new ventures activities.

“It is the largest publicly available geochemical database for the UK continental shelf, representing over 90,000 geochemical samples from more than 2700 wells,” the OGA said.

“Other significant data sets include the open release of the Southern North Sea seismic megasurvey which represents around 23,000 square kilometres of 3D post-stack seismic data, and a rock-physics study focused on the pre-Cretaceous prospectivity of the Central North Sea and East Shetland basin,” it added.

“This latest release of carefully targeted, value-adding data demonstrates the OGA’s continued commitment to supporting industry in its efforts to revitalise exploration,” principal regional geologist at the OGA, Jo Bagguley said.

“We’re particularly excited about the geochemical database and the release of the SNS megasurvey and look forward to seeing these, and the other released data packs, being used to good effect to support both 32nd licensing round applications and ongoing exploration activity in the basin,” Bagguley said.

Last month, companies including Shell, BP, Equinor, Total, Chrysaor and Spirit Energy picked up awards in UK’s 31st offshore licensing round, which focussed on frontier areas.

The OGA offered for award 37 licence areas covering 141 blocks or part-blocks to 30 companies.

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, the OGA launched the 5th Faroese licensing round, which will also stay open for 120 days, closing on 12 November.

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